Denton bemoans ‘costly and frustrating delays’

Property owner Ken Denton says he has been waiting years for planning permission
Property owner Ken Denton says he has been waiting years for planning permission
Image: File Image

Property owner Ken Denton, who claims to have battled to get permission to renovate some of his many buildings, says while delays are costly they also mean certain buildings have fallen into disrepair.

“When you buy a building, you have a plan and prospective clients in mind,” he said.

“Part of that plan includes allocating a budget to that building . . . when you hit a delay you need to divert those funds to another project so work can continue.

“Once the approval is then given, we need to wait for existing projects to be finished to reallocate funds.”

Despite Denton having several pending applications – for Central buildings – the Eastern Cape Provincial Heritage Resources Authority (ECPHRA) says there is no backlog, or even any pending applications.

Denton said several other developments that did not need ECPHRA approval were in full swing.

“There is no problem with getting the plans approved for other projects, it is only with heritage buildings.”

Denton said last month he had received permission to build a new office park in Wasley Street, near the newly renovated Donkin Village in Donkin Street, Central.

“I have always maintained that because some of these buildings are stunning, we want to keep their historic features. But, like in every city, there are those buildings that are just too far gone and need to simply be demolished.”

Denton said he was in negotiations with the municipality to find a way to break down some of the derelict buildings in Central.

“We do not want crime and I certainly never wanted these buildings to run down into a derelict state.

“The fact is that by law I need permission to proceed.

“It is frustrating watching a perfectly good building being run into the ground because we just cannot get permission.

“Each building that is left to run down is an opportunity lost . . . we are paying rates on the building that is effectively standing empty and we are unable to touch.”

Asked what he would do if he could get permission to renovate some of the worst buildings,he said he would demolish them pending a new plan to rebuild.

“If . . . it is determined that these buildings are simply too far gone and cannot be restored, we will have no other option than to demolish them.“

All the budgets that were allocated to these buildings have been used on other projects. So when permission is eventually attained we will have to reassess a timeline as to when building can start.

“But in the interim I would suggest the worst of the buildings being turned into car parks so that at least we can get rid of potential crime hotspots.”